Justin Bennett

  • Alumni Spotlight: Justin Bennett, A Testament to Passion and Perseverance in Auto Technology

    Justin Bennett's journey from a curious child dismantling household items in Gainesville to becoming the proud owner of Otts Collision Service, Inc., exemplifies the power of passion, dedication, and continuous learning in the automotive industry. A 2008 graduate of Letchworth Central School District, Justin's automotive journey gained momentum at Genesee Valley BOCES, where under the guidance of Mr. Johnson in the automotive technology program, he not only honed his skills but also discovered his career calling amidst a close-knit group of nine students.

    From a young age, Justin was fascinated by the mechanics of how things work, starting with radios and VCRs and eventually gravitating towards vehicles. This innate curiosity led him to his first job at Marquart's in Gainesville at just 14 years old, where he began in a support role but quickly found opportunities to assist in vehicle repairs. It was here, in the hustle of a busy repair shop, that Justin's future in automotive repair was cemented.

    Mr. Johnson, Justin's instructor at Genesee Valley BOCES, played a pivotal role in his development, instilling in him not just the technical skills necessary for success in the auto industry but also the soft skills that many lament are missing in today's workforce. Punctuality, responsibility, accountability, and pride in one's work were among the virtues that Justin credits Mr. Johnson for emphasizing virtues that have guided him throughout his career.

    Justin's education laid a solid foundation, but it was his hunger for knowledge and improvement that propelled him forward. Participating in the Ford/AAA Skills USA NY hands-on competition and securing a third-place finish earned him a full scholarship to Wyo Tech College. Here, Justin immersed himself in automotive technology, light-duty diesel, and business management, completing his specialized associate's degree in a non-stop, year-long program to jumpstart his career.

    Returning to work at Marquart's post-graduation, Justin's ambition eventually led him to venture out on his own, starting an auto repair shop at his house. This endeavor was a stepping stone to a larger dream, which materialized in 2020 when he acquired Otts Collision Service, Inc. Taking over a business that had been family-owned since 1957 was no small feat, but Justin was determined to expand and improve upon what was already a respected establishment.

    Under Justin's leadership, Otts Collision Service has navigated the challenges of part shortages and team dynamics, thriving by fostering a culture of collaboration and patience. Justin views his team not as employees but as co-workers united by a common goal, a philosophy that has been key to their success.

    The satisfaction of restoring a vehicle to its pre-collision glory and witnessing a customer's joy is what Justin finds most rewarding. His advice to aspiring professionals in the automotive industry is to never stop learning, be patient, and embrace perseverance. Mistakes are inevitable, but they are also invaluable learning opportunities.

    Justin Bennett's story is a powerful reminder that success is not just about technical expertise but also about the values we uphold and the continuous pursuit of growth. His journey from a curious child to a successful business owner underscores the importance of passion, hard work, and the never-ending quest for knowledge in achieving one's dreams.

Justin Bennett